• Creating a more meaningful gaming experience – From E3 2014

    This post was first published on B&T here.

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    After a busy day of keynotes at E3, the world knows what’s in stall over the next 12 months for the video game world. Unlike last year, there really wasn’t a killer blow, but there were certainly a few interesting themes common amongst the keynotes.

    Now, more than ever before, developers with the help of their marketing teams are planning for social connectedness. Just a few years ago social, collaboration and interacting with people in a meaningful way was an after-thought in a gaming experience. In fact it was afterthought to a lot of live events and experiences too. Now this paradigm has completely shifted.

    Coming-of-age of connectedness

    Video games are being developed with connectedness primarily in mind. From the outset, developers are looking to bring people together, get people sharing and attempting to immerse the player 100% in the experience.

    Little Big Planet for example is a much better experience when played with friends. Rather than developing a game with just one player in mind, the makers have thought about how collaboration can enhance the gaming experience. In this case that’s about players helping one another to achieve a common goal.

    Through technology such as ‘share factory’ and ‘photo mode’ in second factory, Sony are truly enabling social sharing, and have some impressive numbers to back it up. Since the launch of PS4, the share button has been pressed more than 220m times.

    Players are also sharing gameplay for spectator sessions, and spectators now can interact live with those players. The fact people would watch gaming, in the way they watch sport, would have been inconceivable a few years ago, but since launch more than 150m spectator sessions have been shared by players on the Sony platform. With YouTube being enabled to the share functionality, one could only expect these numbers will increase significantly in the near future. This presents a tantalising opportunity for brand sponsorship, much in the way that large-scale sporting events command marketing dollars.

    Emotional Control

    The second major theme from today was the notion of emotional control. Feeling the game and ultimately feeling the gaming experience is at the heart of making people take action. If we can trigger an emotion then it will often prompt us to share that feeling, which helps increase brand awareness and fosters desirability.

    Most of EA’s titles now have character emotional control where their personalities drive behaviour. This ultimately creates a very unique character, and a more meaningful experience, and in games like Sims, those characters and their individual emotional traits can be shared.

    In games like FIFA, the temperament of players and how they are emotionally affected during a match can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of the result. But in both cases, the end result is simple. Make people ‘feel’ the game in a way they never could before.

    Content delivery

    Content delivery is incredibly important. Whether it is the Kinect camera, or playing on remote devices like Playstation Vita, developers need to continue to innovate with hardware. Although not a lot was said during the keynote, Project Morpheus will feature on Sony’s stand during E3.  I for one, am really keen to understand how Virtual Reality technology is going to deliver a better gaming experience. If Sony get it right, then it could be a game changer.

    I think it’s safe to say that whether virtual or real, delivering the most compelling experience is fundamental to the success of a good game or in fact a great brand or marketing experience. Conversely, if you get wrong, it could have an equally powerful result.